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Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820–1920

June 11–October 3, 2021
Baker/Rowland Galleries

Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820–1920 is the first major exhibition to focus on the influence of Spanish art and culture on American painting. During the nineteenth century, artists increasingly added Spain to their European tours to study the masterworks in the Prado Museum and to capture the country’s scenic charms and customs. The exhibition features artists and movements that expand upon areas of particular strength in the Museum’s collection, including artists of the Ashcan Circle and the Eight, as well as major canvases by Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and John Singer Sargent. Also among the highlights are Sargent’s famous Carmencita (1890) from the Musée d’Orsay; a newly discovered painting by Mary Cassatt from a Madrid private collection never before shown in the United States; and Spanish old masters on loan from the Prado Museum that American painters copied.

The exhibition’s more than 100 paintings, photographs, and prints are presented chronologically and organized to emphasize migration, tourism, and travel in nineteenth-century Spain. Additional themes include the romance and the reality of old Spain; Spanish old masters and American copyists at the Prado Museum; Spanish architecture, gardens, and landscapes; Spain’s Islamic history; and the critical and popular responses to American artists’ work.

This exhibition is co-organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Chrysler Museum of Art.

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The Artist-Travelers Project

Explore how artists and other travelers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries experienced Spain. See the guidebooks they used, letters they wrote, works they created, routes they took, and more through this interactive website.
Begin your journey »

A Digital Guide for the Exhibition

Use your personal device to explore select works from the exhibition in depth. The Americans in Spain app includes bilingual audio commentaries and additional information on thirty-six of the exhibition’s paintings and works on paper. The Americans in Spain app is available on Google Play and the App Store® for iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod touch®.

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Virtual Lecture: Spain’s Influence on John Singer Sargent

Virtual Lecture: A Closer Look at the Works in Americans in Spain

Virtual Lecture: Spain’s Islamic Heritage

Virtual In Conversation: Travel in Spain with Rudy Maxa and Brandon Ruud

Virtual Lecture: Spanish Golden Age Masters in American Collections

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

A generous gift from the Terra Foundation for American Art helped support curatorial staff at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Americans in Spain during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to the Museum Visionaries:Donna and Donald Baumgartner John and Murph Burke Sheldon and Marianne Lubar Joel and Caran Quadracci Sue and Bud Selig Jeff Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Mary Cassatt, Spanish Girl Leaning on a Window Sill, ca. 1872. Oil on canvas, 24 3/8 × 19 in. (61.9 × 38.26 cm). Collection of Manuel Piñanes García-Olías, Madrid. Photo, Cuauhtli Gutierrez
  • José Jiménez Aranda, Figaro’s Shop, 1875. Oil on canvas, 17 5/16 × 22 5/8 in. (44 × 57.4 cm). The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland. © The Walters Art Museum
  • Robert Henri, Queen Mariana, ca. 1900. Oil on canvas, 91½ × 48 in. (190.82 × 128.59 cm). The Robert Henri Museum and Gallery. Photo courtesy Robert Henri Museum and Art Gallery, Cozad, Nebraska
  • John Singer Sargent, Ilex Wood, Majorca, 1908. Oil on canvas. 22½ x 28 in. (57 x 71 cm). Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, on loan at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, CTB.1997.34
  • Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Hall of the Ambassadors, Alhambra, Granada, 1909 (detail). Oil on canvas. 41 x 32 in. (104.1 x 81.3 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 79.PA.154
  • Robert Henri, El Matador, 1906. Oil on canvas, 78 x 38 in. (198.1 x 96.5 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, the Mr. and Mrs. Donald B. Abert and Barbara Abert Tooman Fund with funds in memory of Betty Croasdaile and John E. Julien, M2019.1. Photo by John R. Glembin.
  • John Singer Sargent, La Carmencita, 1890. Oil on canvas, 90 x 54¼ in. (228.6 x 134.22 cm). Musée d’Orsay, Paris, RF746. © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY
  • Childe Hassam, Church Procession, Spain, ca. 1883. Oil on canvas. Private collection.
  • William Merritt Chase, Sunny Spain, 1882. Oil on canvas. Collection of Lois and Arthur Stainman.

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